Monday, January 20, 2020

What's Your Leadership Definition?

Your CEO steps onto the elevator with you, turns to greet you, and instead of saying hello, says..."tell me your leadership definition."

What's your answer? 

I'll wait...but I'm not sure you'll have time to wait in that elevator.

Leadership Is Everything
Imagine the impact in that moment when you deliver a clean, concise response. The look on your CEO's face...the insight she or he gets into who you are beyond your solid performance day in and day out.

Imagine how good that would feel.

Or...

You stumble. You don't have anything much of value to say, but you do a heck of a job dropping all of the most unoriginal jargon you can think of as you panic.

Imagine how bad that would feel.

How About You
Does it sound hokey to have a leadership definition? I bet it doesn't anymore. Think about it. Write it down. Share it.

Most importantly...live it.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Monday, January 13, 2020

Your Last 10%

A number of years ago I was with a great friend at his workplace where he was speaking with a member of his team about a difficult topic. He sensed she was trying to be diplomatic and was not being completely forthright as she answered his questions.

Then he said, "what is your last 10%?"

I'm sure I had a puzzled look on my face as I watched this exchange, as I had absolutely no idea what his question meant.

His team member paused...flashed a bit of a nervous smile...and gave a completely honest answer to his previous series of questions.

Once this impromptu meeting ended, I asked my friend about the last 10%, and why it shifted her answers to the core of the issue.

He explained that he has a rule with his team. They are required - like most teams - to be honest and thoughtful about their communication. But in case something gets too complicated, politically sensitive or just a bit awkward, they can ask for the other person to give their "last 10% of what they're thinking."

I love that.

A culture whereby even the most challenging of topics have a clear path to be discussed without fear of retribution because you are given the freedom to share that final bit of information on your mind.

How About You
What culture have you created in your workplace? The real one. Does it have clear paths for your team members to be completely honest? 

Maybe the last 10% help?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Ready To Go

I'm ready to go.

It's Not About the New Year
Identifying goals, resolutions, or whatever you prefer to call the "beginning of the year lists" can be fun, inspiring, and confusing all at once.

Are we supposed to have lists? Yes we are!

Is there something special about the year flipping that should move us forward differently than the rest of the year? Not at all, but it is a wonderful reminder that we need to keep pushing...keep challenging ourselves...keep getting better.

It's Not About Being Completely Ready
One of the great misconceptions of personal and professional life is that we shouldn't jump into anything unless we are fully prepared.

That is crazy talk.

Getting started is important.

Making progress is important.

Taking risks, evaluating, and adjusting are all important.

Waiting around for the perfect moment is simply fear manifested for all to see.

How About You
What's on your list this year? What is holding you back from jumping in? If you need to talk it through, reach out. You can do it!

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Monday, December 30, 2019

Expressions of Power

Power is an interesting concept. We chase it...we are fearful of it...we are quick to identify abuses of it...

...and then we chase it some more.

What's the Real Story
There is an allure to success, and the trappings that come along with it. Titles, money, respect, authority. Hmmm...authority. That component of power that offers the ability to guide others in the way you want them to go. 

That path can be something wonderful...creating a culture that brings the great minds of your team together to push through to new levels of success. A culture whereby everyone feels connected to the vision. 

Damn, that can be exciting.



Power for Power's Sake
There is, of course, a dark side to power. In times of war power is projected in the most overwhelming ways possible to demoralize the enemy. Perhaps the same can be said for those leaders who are solely focused on power as a personal issue.

They are the ones that feel threatened in every meeting. They are quick to challenge others so as to redirect the focus away from their shortcomings. They see an inclusive leadership approach as somehow diminishing their own status.

We've all seen them. Maybe you've been one at some point in your career?
We've all seen their behavior as well: the body language, the words they choose, the tone of their electronic messages.

How About You
Who do you know in your company that views power in such a disruptive way? How can you help them? As we look to the start of a new year, it might be time for you to pull them aside, provide the thoughtful coaching they need, and help them start 2020 in a very different way.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Monday, December 23, 2019

Blogging, Social Media and Your Questions

I get a fair number of questions about blogging, social media, personal brands and how to balance those with my corporate responsibilities. So today I thought I would answer some of those questions. 

You may not agree with me, which is great! Let's kick around our shared ideas on how to balance this ever evolving challenge as a group.

Q - I wouldn't know what to say on social media, no one is interested in what I have to say?

A - Completely untrue! Of course you have a lot to say...you do it all day long in your job. The trick is framing up the issues that impact your work, and commenting on them, writing about them, or responding to them in a professional way. Go slowly at first, then as you gain confidence you will be more comfortable adding to the global dialogue.

Q - My company is very strict about social media, and quite honestly does not appear to understand how it works. How can I get started?

A - This is a common situation, and one I've heard MANY times! First of all, remember that the safest content you can share is your own company's content. 

They have already posted it, so sharing it is not risky, it's showing that you are a champion for your employer! 

Second, there aren't any rules that say you have to take risks on social media. 

Look to your professional association websites, credible business outlets, and basic industry news outlets as a way to get your feet wet. 

Q - I've always been curious about blogging, but how would I ever come up with all of that content?

A - I felt the same way when I was thinking about getting started...that was 9 years and 850+ blog posts ago! Whoa! Where does the time go? 

When I was working through the same challenges, I made the decision to focus on leadership issues. Others take a more expanded view, and that's okay too. Think about what matters to you. Start writing down the issues that touch you personally in your work (or personal) life. That is where you start!

How About You
Are you ready to differentiate yourself from the many hundreds or thousands of people in roles just like yours? If so, starting a blog, podcast, or other strategy might be right for you. Jumping into the social media game is not nearly as scary as it seems...just look around, it has really caught on!

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Monday, December 16, 2019

Tell Your Organization's Story

The world is filled with lots of voices. Many of those voices are determined to tell inaccurate stories about your organization. 

Maybe it's a former employee who was held accountable and has moved on, and is now looking to save face.

Maybe it's another organization trying to spread misinformation about you.

Maybe it is simply a series of events that appear to position your company in a negative light.

Stop Wishing for Good News
In an era of unlimited opportunities to share information, I'm not sure why every organization isn't aggressively telling their own story? 

Do you have fantastic people working for you? Talk about them!

Do you do good work that adds value? Share those stories!

Do you have a thought leadership message to share to inspire others? Get started!

When we wait for good stories to be told about our organizations we need to tell ourselves that old phrase..."don't hold your breath." The only people that will intentionally tell an accurate story about all of the good things you do is...YOU!

Get Started
Kicking off this strategy is not nearly as difficult as you might think. 

1. Decide to drive the message instead of being a victim.
2. Identify a team..and a leader of that team..to own the process.
3. Develop and implement your plan with clear accountabilities to sustain the effort.

Find the talented people in your company who have a passion for what you do. Identify a leader who will ensure your strategy comes to life and moves the narrative forward.

You can do it.

How About You
What fears are holding you back? Stop making excuses and write them down. 

Rip apart each one, and move forward. We are not victims as leaders, we make a huge difference in the lives of our organizations. You can too.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Monday, December 9, 2019

Energy-Driven Task List

I'm a heavy Instagram guy. I love connecting with people from around the world who aren't in my "regular circle." I hear different perspectives on issues, see interesting places, and learn a lot. A number of these folks talk about energy...our personal energy.

Not Sure At First
I'll be honest. Some of this energy talk is a bit much for me to accept. I understand there is more to it than I have learned. But, come on...

And then...a close friend brought up the notion of energy, and how we directly apply it to our work. Yes, I've heard the old message that says "do the toughest work...or most boring work...or most interesting work...when you feel fresh" conversation....but which is it?

Back to my friend, who knows I live and die with Wunderlist. Next thing I knew the whole energy dialogue was framed up in terms of my task list. Whoa! 

Energy driven task list?

"Say that again,"I said. 




Opportunistic with my Energy
That exchange shifted how I think about my work, and my work day. Instead of labeling myself as a morning person, or a night owl, or whatever is in-between; I now view the times when I have a surge of energy as opportunities to destroy my task list.

When my energy is high, I capitalize on it and roar through my list. When my energy is low, I don't beat myself up for not feeling just right at my previously scheduled time to "have energy."

Genius? Maybe not.
Incredibly effective? Oh, yes.

How About You
How do you maximize your effectiveness each day, without the leadership guilt trip that "you should be doing so much more right now?" As my Instagram friends will tell you...tune into your own energy...and make it work for you.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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